Contract dispute between doctors, hospital in hands of jury

David Yates Oct. 22, 2009, 9:31am

As of press time for the Southeast Texas Record on Thursday, jurors are still deliberating in the trial of Dr. Brent Mainwaring vs. Dr. James King and HealthSouth Corp.

The trial began Tuesday, Oct. 14, in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court. Jurors started their deliberations Wednesday afternoon.

The evidence and testimony in the case has primarily focused on a $40,000 Mercedes given to a female HealthSouth employee as a Christmas present.

The expensive gift ultimately resulted in a fractured medical partnership, a doctor's termination, an FBI investigation and finally a civil trial in a Jefferson County court.

Dr. Mainwaring, who once partnered with Dr. King to provide radiological services to HealthSouth, sued King and their ruined partnership, Advanced Imaging Associates, a year after King was terminated for lying to federal investigators in 2005, court papers say.

The suit spawned counter suits and eventually came to envelop a third party, HealthSouth, which Mainwaring claimed unfairly terminated Dr. King and caused their partnership to dissolve.

According to court records and testimony, in 2003 King and Mainwaring bought Kim Kettle, a former Health South employee, a brand new Mercedes Benz for Christmas.

The gift sparked concern among HealthSouth officials, but after determining that the present was not an act of bribery, higher ups allowed her to keep the $40,000 car, even though such gifts are against company policy, court papers say.

In his suit, Mainwaring alleges HealthSouth and King are both responsible for destruction of Advanced Imaging Associates, costing him perhaps millions of dollars.

Jurors must decide who, if anyone, is responsible.

Mainwaring is represented in part by local attorney Brain Sutton of the Sutton and Jacobs law firm.

King is represented by attorney Keith Kebodeaux.

HealthSouth is represented by James Old, an attorney for the Germer Gertz law firm.

Case No. A176-613

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